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Mardi Gras bead dogs off the leash with lawsuit ruling

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Visitors to New Orleans can breathe a sigh of relief now that a legal dispute has been settled over depictions of Mardi Gras bead dog trinkets.

The popular novelty has a long history as an easy craft project for repurposing the ubiquitous strands of beads tossed to onlookers during the city’s world famous Mardi Gras parades, and numerous websites and online videos illustrate how to twist up the little beaded pooches once the party’s over.

The trouble started when two competing businesses started to cash in on their own bead dog versions and ended up in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in Nola Spice Designs L.L.C. vs. Haydel Enterprises Inc., doing business as Haydel’s Bakery.

Haydel’s started the dispute with a threatening August 2012 letter demanding Nola Spice stop sales and marketing of its bead dogs.

The letter lead to a flurry of suits and countersuits initiated by Nola Spice alleging trademark and copyright infringement filed in various courts since October 2012.

The appeals court on Wednesday confirmed Nola Spice’s non-infringement of Haydel’s trademarks and the dissolution of Haydel’s trademarks, thus allowing Mardis Gras bead dogs again to roam free in the marketplace.